By Musa Adamu
Concerned with lack of information on security spendings in the country, a Civil Society Organization yesterday in Abuja called on President Muhammadu Buhari to brief Nigerians and especially the National Assembly (NASS) on the extent of spending of the $1billion meant for the purchase of American Tucano fighter Chippers.
It would be recalled that the withdrawal of the said fund from the Excess Crude Account by the federal government almost set it on collision with the 8th NASS with some Nigerians calling for the impeachment of President Buhari over extra budgetary spending.
Briefing the Press in Abuja, Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) said there was need for defence spendings in the country to be more open to block loopholes used by fraudulent Nigerians to defraud the nation.
Speaking through its Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, the transparency watchdog said it was important for reforms to be carried out with regards to the Freedom of Information Act to instill more transparency in the spendings in the Defense sector.
It also called on the NASS to expedite action on the creation of a special Court to handle corruption cases in the country, adding the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) would be helping in the fight against if he assigned some Courts with the duty of trying corruption cases before its formal passage.
It said: “That the special court for corruption cases be given speedy passage by the National Assembly in the spirit of the anti-corruption drive of the Buhari regime. And given the way and manner this drive has gone to fumigate the public finance sector of governance, CSOs believe that the Buhari government should institutionalize the fight against corruption so that it will survive his regime when he finishes his current and final term in 2023.”
It further called on the federal government to brief the country on the status of the implementation of National Defence Policy.
“That the President should, as a matter urgency, brief Nigerians on the extent, status and the implementation plan of the National Defence Policy. Citizens are increasingly interested in the way and manner they are secured as well as the accountability infrastructure within the sector.”
The organization promised to: “continue to relentlessly push for greater accountability and integrity of the defence architecture in Nigeria. We are determined to advocate for accountable defence spending, providing of declassified information to the public, increased integrity of defence personnel and civilian oversight of the defence sector in line with international good practice.
“Lastly, we would like to encourage the authorities to cooperate with the civil society in a meaningful and cooperative manner. Nigerian national security requires multi-stakeholders’ engagement in line with principles of democratic and participatory governance, which Nigeria has proudly embraced.”